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Engage Millennials in Health Care Safety

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Millennials may be a great fit for careers in health care safety, as their top demands—mutual respect, meaningful work and constant improvement—mirror the requirements for an effective safety culture. For that reason, health care employers could benefit from a better understanding of the millennial workforce, those employees born between 1981 and 2003. 

The following five guidelines can help attract millennials and foster safety-conscious health care employees: 

  1. Create a sense of purpose. According to a recent millennial survey, 3 in 4 millennials value a career with a purpose more than a high salary.
  2. Support teamwork. The vast majority of millennials prefer a collaborative culture as opposed to a competitive one. 
  3. Support frequent and open communication. Millennials communicate constantly and prefer frequent feedback.
  4. Fix problems quickly. Problems that aren’t fixed quickly enough can cause millennials to become disengaged.
  5. Adopt intuitive technology that promotes safety in health care. Millennials are accustomed and attracted to technology. 

Stress Leads to More Doctor Errors 

Researchers from Michigan State University monitored the biological stress indicators of 28 emergency room physicians during their residencies to determine the effect of their stress levels on their patients. After each shift, the residents were asked how many near misses they made—mistakes that could have harmed a patient. Those who answered with the highest number of near misses also had the highest biological stress indicators. 

Although the study illustrated the biological effect of stress on both doctors and their patients, further research is needed to determine whether near misses lead to poorer patient outcomes.  

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